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Monday, December 31, 2012

Words of Wisdom for 2013

This has been a pretty slow year, slow is good though, lots of good things happened, a few "bad" things happened too, the biggest being my dad passing on this summer, that is the cornerstone of my year this year. Though I don't consider death the end of life, in fact for me, it is just a transition into the next life, that is based on 2 things, 1st is my faith, my Christian faith, I am not "religious", religion is how man screwed up the relationship with God, I do however have a great relationship with the Trinity of God, the 2nd thing is my NDE (near death experience), I drowned as a child, I remember all of it, I will not go into detail but lets just say that I went into and fully felt the most extreme peace, love, warmth and lots more I can't explain, based on what happened to me, I KNOW there is life beyond this life.

I wrote this during the week I came home, just before going back to Ft Worth to be with my dad when he passed. I think it's an appropriate thing to think about going into the New Year. I sincerely hope everyone has a great New Year.

A good friend of mine died unexpectedly last week, my dad is nearing the end of his earthly life, it might make you question God as to why "good people" die, a better way to think about seemingly tragic happenings is as a wake up call for your life...

Are you living the way you should be living?

Are you ready to meet God face to face?

Is there anything you would be ashamed of?

What would you be proud of?

What are you putting off that you would really like to do while still breathing in this life?

Is there anything you want or need to say to someone?

Like it or not, we all have an expiration date, we don't know when that will happen, could be before you finish reading this, could be tomorrow, later this week, years or decades from now... you just don't know, so don't put off the things you need to do now, get right with God if you aren't that way already, reaffirm that commitment to God, then reaffirm your love with your family and friends.

Live life to the fullest, live as if you will not be here tomorrow.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Here's wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a happy & safe New Year!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Anniversary

EEEK, I just realized, I missed our 5 year anniversary, living off grid! This time of the year is always busy busy busy for me and yesterday just flat out got away from me. So I'll write about it today,

So, 5 years ago, December 22, 2007, we arrived at our property at about 3:30 in the morning, it was blowing a gale, it was about 14 degrees F, we had been driving for about 12 hours and we were exhausted.

The reason it was so late, we had planned on getting an earlier start in the day, we were packed and ready to go, we were taking a final walkthru of the house to make sure we had everything we were going to take, when we heard a loud crash outside, PB said it sounded like a car wreck, I said it couldn't be a car wreck, I hadn't heard any tires squealing, I went out to see and sure enough, there were 2 vehicles right there, one was sitting at a funny angle in the street, the other, a truck was laying on its side in the ditch, I recognized the truck as belonging to PB's son, he was climbing out the passenger side window which was pointing straight up, he was going to see if the driver of the other car was OK. Fortunately everyone was OK, but because of that, we were delayed getting out by several hours.

Actually we had been delayed before that, we had meant to be on the road days and days before, but the weather would not cooperate, it got super cold and began raining and sleeting, we were afraid our canned foods might freeze on the trailer, so we put a space heater near the food (everything was boxed up and covered).

So after all the delays, we finally were able to get out on the road. PB was driving a truck with barely adequate brakes, hauling a trailer on which the brakes didn't work at all. I was driving PB's minivan, hauling the VW Bug, we drove slow and carefully, stopping many times to adjust the straps and tarps on the trailer. That is why it took 12 hours to get here instead of the normal 8.

Once we arrived on site, we hiked up to the cabin, it was not yet the sky castle, we had an invite by our neighbor to come to his house and sleep the night in relative comfort, but by the time we got here, we were so tired, neither one of us wanted to hike back down the hill to go to the neighbor's house, we were home and we wanted to sleep in our new home.

The rest of the night was kinda scary, the wind was really blowing hard, the cabin was not finished by any means, and it was rocking and rolling in the wind, we watched the ceiling bow up and down. We had no heat inside the cabin, the wood stove was still on the trailer. We put on our thick quilted coveralls to keep warm. PB was too wound up to sleep, between his son having the accident, the long drive and the blowing wind, he just couldn't lay down and sleep. As for me, I had no trouble, I decided that the cabin would stand or fall whether I was asleep or awake, I took our little chihuahua Pekoe, crawled into the tent that was inside the cabin, and went to sleep.

It's hard to imagine that was 5 years ago now, living off grid seems to normal to me, it's like we have always lived this way, my only regret is that we didn't do this sooner. Well, I need to do the church program for tomorrow, so I'll cut this short.

Thanks to all of my loyal readers and followers, I know I don't write often on this site, but my loyal readers are always here and comment when I do write something.

All written text from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment, but please do not distribute without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.


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Thursday, December 20, 2012

TEOTWAWKI on Dec 21, 2012 – or not…

I have always wanted to live off the grid, when I was a kid, I didn’t exactly know what that meant, I just knew that I wanted to live away from people and populated areas, I wanted to live off the land, to be free of society, to be self sufficient. There were no solar panels back then, at least none to be had by most people, I was willing to live in a small cabin using candles or kerosene lanterns for light, cooking on a wood stove or fireplace, living like a pioneer. Little did I know that the end of the world would come in my lifetime…

I did know about solar cooking though, my dad and I had a plan to make a solar powered cooker, we even had the materials to do it, my dad brought home a round piece of shiny metal, about 3 feet across, we were going to turn it into a solar concentrator. Now that piece of metal is sitting outside of my sky castle, it never got used as a solar concentrator, it got turned into a lid for a round metal container that we put hot ash in from the wood stove, little did I know that some 30 something years later, that piece of metal would follow me to my off grid life and become a useful object.

Growing up, I felt a need to be far from populated areas, I instinctively knew these areas would not be safe in a SHTF situation, although I wasn’t a fearful doom and gloomer, I just had enough smarts to understand that living outside of town was much better and potentially safer (for me) than living in town.

Fast forward many years, I grew up, got married, had a child, raised my son, got divorced, found and fell in love with the internet, still lived in town, worked a regular job, then I met PB. He was the ultimate DIY’er, he did everything for himself, including first aid, things that most would have gone to the emergency room or to see a doctor, he took care of it himself. We hooked up, got married and several years later, he began telling me about his desire to move out west, to live off grid.

I had no idea he wanted to do this, I had never told him of my childhood desire to do the same thing! So we began to actively look for a place to make our home. During this time, I listen to a radio talk show called “Coast to Coast am", it plays overnight so I subscribe and get their podcasts each morning. While I don’t listen to every program, there are lots of subjects they cover that I am interested in, things like fringe science, things that go bump in the night, survivalists, conspiracies, history and such. One of the subjects discussed more and more was the December 21, 2012 end of the world phenomena.
Apparently the Mayans had created this long count calendar, and the date on the last one apparently ended on Dec 21, 2012. When I first heard about this, I didn’t think too much about it, but as the years went by, this subject was brought up more and more, even the main stream media started talking about it. I remember how Y2K went, it was a big flop, nothing happened, I pretty much believe the same thing about this date as well… mostly, well honestly about 85-90% of me believes nothing out of the ordinary will happen.
As we got closer to making our dream of living off grid a reality, this date event kept coming up and I couldn’t file it away as easily as I had been able to before. Do I believe the world is coming to an end? Do I believe there will be catastrophic disasters such as floods, asteroids, solar flares, planet X coming in for a close encounter? No, I don’t believe any of those things will happen, BUT even in the remotest possibility of some natural (or unnatural) disaster happening, and we all know about last few natural disasters to hit, hurricane Sandy, the earthquake-tsunami and resulting nuclear events that happened in Japan, giant sink holes in the middle of the USA, I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Honestly, I am more worried about how people are going to act at the end of this week, people living in populated city centers who might decide that if the world is going to end anyhow, why not make it a big party, a party that includes rioting, looting, burning and other assorted unsociable behavior. Or if, by some remote chance, some sort of disaster does hit, again I would rather be in a less populated area, assuming you survive whatever it is that might happen, it’s the hoards of people who are going to make life difficult.
So here I sit, looking at the calendar, seeing that date looming at the end of this week. As I said, I don’t believe there are going to be major earth changes or the end of the earth, never the less, I’m glad I am sitting on my very unpopulated mountain, far from the nearest town, hours and hours away from any major population center, if the worst happens then it will not matter much were anyone is, if things just go badly, then I feel like I’m in a safe place, but chances are, I’ll wake up on Saturday morning, along with the rest of the world, look at the clock, turn over and go back to sleep. What about you, what are you going to be doing on Friday night?

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Prepping on a Budget, part 4 – Water

Water, it IS necessary for life. For drinking, cooking and cleaning, it’s more than handy to have around, it’s a matter of life and death. In my previous water article, I discussed how my hubby and I deal with water in our off grid life. Chances are if you are reading this, you live in a more traditional setting with city water on tap, all you have to do is turn on the faucet and clean water comes out. Hopefully that situation never changes for you, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the eventuality that it might not flow out as readily as it always has, and if it does, perhaps it will not be clean and sanitary as you would want it or need it to be. This article will address that situation.

If everything stopped, water, food and such and you weren’t allowed to leave your home, I’d be willing to bet that you would run out of water long before you ran out of food, hopefully you have read my other articles on how to prep foodwise (see links at the bottom of this article) and have already started putting up food for lean times. Now, if you haven’t already done it, it’s time to start storing water. You might ask why someone who lives in a traditional home with city water would want to do this… well at any time your water supply could be cut off, or contaminated to the point where you couldn’t use it for much. Floods, pipes bursting, even the city working on the water systems can interrupt or contaminate the water that flows into your home. Chances are most interruptions would be temporary, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have a backup supply right at your fingertips?

So how much water should you store for emergency use? The minimum recommended is 1 gallon per person, per day, that doesn’t count washing and such, so the more you can store, the better off you will be. The average person uses 80-100 gallons of water each day. That is an amazing number to me, since we have to haul our own water, our water use is so much less, I can make a 150 gallons of water last over a week, that’s for 2 people and that’s not being as careful as I could be, I’ve lived on as little as 3 gallons per day for 2 people, it’s not pleasant but it can be done.

So think about how much water you are using now and consider what would happen if that supply suddenly stopped or became contaminated. Of course there are ways to minimize your water usage in emergency situations, you can stock up on baby wipes or wet wipes to clean your hands and small cleanup jobs, don’t forget about using hand sanitizers too, that will save your water for more necessary use. And remember to reuse your water when possible, you can use water you have cleaned with to flush a toilet, don’t waste it if you are suddenly limited on how much you can use in an emergency.

Getting water is simple, the easiest way would be to buy up bottled water, either in gallon containers or individual bottles, a combination of the two would be ideal. If that would hit your pocketbook too hard, then you have to get creative, you can reuse juice bottles, soda bottles and such, just make sure they are food grade and heavy duty enough to stand up to the rigors of storing water for the long term, it’s not recommended to reuse milk jugs, they tend to break down after a while. Glass is easy to keep clean, but it’s heavy by itself and can break if treated roughly, so I don’t recommend glass either.

You will want to thoroughly clean your bottles, be sure to use something to sanitize the bottles too, a cap full of plain chlorine bleach in your rinse water will work, you don’t need much. You will also need that bleach for your water you will be storing, you don’t want to find out the hard way that your water is growing stuff when you need it the most. I have heard differing stories on this, I’ve read that city water that is chlorinated shouldn’t need any extra chlorine added to it to be safe. I have read that to purify water, add 8 drops of chlorine per gallon of water, stir and wait a few minutes, you should have a slight bleach odor, if not, then add more. I would tell you to do your own research, if you are reading this, then you have access to the same information I do and can determine what is best for you and your family. If it were me, I would add 3-4 drops of bleach per gallon and leave it at that. You don’t have to worry too much about having a little too much bleach, you can always leave the water container open to the air for a while, the chlorine will out gas to the atmosphere, ie it will turn into a gas and leave the water behind. Be sure you use PLAIN chlorine bleach, not the scented ones, not the concentrated ones, not the color safe ones, just plain chlorine, for this I would even recommend using the name brand Clorox.

If you really want to be safe, you can buy food grade hydrogen peroxide and add that to your water, make sure it is FOOD GRADE, not the stuff you get from the drug store or grocery store, and NOT the stuff that comes from the beauty supply, it should say FOOD GRADE. I have found it in health food stores, already diluted, but if it is not diluted, wear rubber gloves, eye protection and use caution as well as common sensed, it is caustic and will burn your skin, not horrible burns but you will notice it and probably feel it if you accidentally get some on your skin. Again, research this and educate yourself before messing with these chemicals.

You could always use what I use, and my other family members who live in the city and have good water, we use the Berkey Light water purifier, it’s simple, easy, lasts a long time and requires no water pressure or power to work. Then you wouldn’t have to worry at all about the condition of the water you will be drinking and cooking with.

Now if you have limited space inside your home, you will need to get creative as to where to store this water, of course there are closets, there is always some space in a closet that can be used to store water, what about behind your couch? Who says your couch or other furniture has to be pushed right up against the wall? Read my article about storing food to get more ideas on how and where to store your water.

Now lets move outside. If you have a yard and the room, you can collect rain water, I know there are many places in the USA where it’s illegal to collect rainwater, I am so thankful I don’t live in a state or town that does that, I would just have to be a criminal, I can’t imagine how any government agency can tell people what they can do on their own land in that respect, I guarantee I would be fighting it tooth and nail, but I digress. You can collect rainwater and store it for future use, whether you use it on your garden, or use it to flush the toilet, it’s a pretty important thing to have. You can purchase water collection containers that are made for backyard use, they are easy to set up and you can almost set it and forget it.

If you are a handy person then you can cobble together your own water collection/storage systems, you can use 55 gallon plastic drums, you might even be able to get them used at bottling companies. Just make sure if you get used plastic containers that it held food products, not toxic chemicals, it’s just not worth the chance of getting sick or worse.

I saw an interesting water collection/storage system just today, it uses 3-55 gallon plastic drums stacked up on their sides, it fills from the top (from your roof runoff) and flows down to the next 2 below it. You can find the directions here:

Now if you are using larger containers to store water, 55 gallon drums or something else that it too big to carry around and pour, you will need a good way to get this water where you want it. The simplest way is using gravity, have the water container elevated above the point of use. If that is not possible, then you will have to pump it, either by hand, or using a powered pump. You can easily find hand pumps at places like Harbor Freight, Home Depot, local hardware store, feed store and such. You can also invest in a small 12 volt water pump, the kind that comes in RVs and travel trailers, a bit of wire and a 12 volt battery. You could keep the battery charged on a 12 volt float charger or use a 12 volt solar trickle charger, then if you need the water and you have no electricity or it is too far from a power outlet, you can use the pump and the battery to pump the water where ever you need it.

Here are the links to the entire Prepping on a budget series
Prepping on a budget – part 1 – food

Prepping on a budget – part 2 – book review
Prepping on a budget – part 3 – food storage & security
Prepping on a budget – part 4 – water
Prepping on a budget – part 5 – first aid kit

Prepping on a budget – part 6 – sanitation

All written text from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment, but please do not distribute without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.


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